Member Profile: “Lucky” Dave Voda

The Member Profile is an online resource you can use to share your passion for snowsports instruction, as well as other things that are important your life. Here, “Lucky” Dave Voda, shares his story.

Discipline: Snowboard

Region: Western

Resort: Bear Mountain, CA

Certifications/Credentials: Snowboard Level II

What inspired you to become an instructor?

My instructor! I didn’t take up snowboarding until my mid-50s, but my coach thought I was doing so well, he encouraged me to try out for the snowsports school, and even taught me the skills I would need to pass the test. Thank you, Micah!

What keeps you coming back to teach each year?

There’s so much camaraderie with my fellow instructors. They encourage me, challenge me, laugh with me, and even feed me! And the training at Bear Mountain is super.

What stands out about your teaching?

I’m a terrible athlete, but make up for talent with persistence. So I am extra patient with our guests, and love helping them get over their fears and technical foibles so that they can relax and move freely through our beautiful snowy mountains. Freedom, friendship, self-confidence and fun – that’s the experience I want snowboarding, and that’s the experience I try to bring to our guests.

What’s one accessory, tool, or education resource you keep in your pocket? 

Stickers! Everyone, adults and children both, love to get stickers. Doesn’t seem to matter whether the stickers are from Bear, Thrive, or Scooby-Doo. What matters is the acknowledgment that the riders have accomplished feats they didn’t realize they were capable of.

Is there an “insider tip” you’d share with new members?

You can never go wrong with an AASI clinic. You get to ride new terrain, make new friends and learn new skills from some of the greatest instructors anywhere – all for the amazing price!

Describe a teaching or learning experience that sticks out in your mind.

Bear has a super-easy beginner’s area where guests can ride a magic carpet to lap the hill.

On one occasion, a woman sat in the snow at the top, watching all the other riders but going nowhere herself. She claimed to be okay, but obviously had just given up.

After she refused several offers of my help, I finally said, “Tell you what. How about if you stand up on your board so that we can fake some pictures of you snowboarding?””

She loved that idea, and pretty soon I had her properly positioned over her board, looking like a real snowboarder. Laughing, we took a bunch of great posed shots, and after she started feeling comfortable, I suggested we try to get some video as well. By then she was game, and we learned some straight glides and J-turns and rode all the way to the bottom of the hill.

There a small knot of her friends awaited, hooting and clapping encouragement. She gave me a big hug and rode the magic carpet to the top again, this time with her friends.

I’m pretty sure those pictures are all over her Facebook page, and I won’t be surprised to see her on our slopes again.

Anything else your fellow snow pros should know about you?

I’ve written several thriller novels under my pen name, “James Dain.” My latest, BLOOD ON THE MOUNTAIN, is set at a Colorado ski resort. When a young skier is killed on the slopes, her fiancé – snowboard coach Mag Cutback – must find her murderer or die trying. It’s a fun fantasy with a halfpipe, a hit man and a harrowing climax on top of the mountain. Check it out on Amazon and give me your feedback on my website.

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